THE COURT OF APPEALS HAS DECIDED A QUESTION IN A WAY NOT IN ACCORD WITH THE LAW AND APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THE SUPREME COURT

Petitioner offers five arguments in support thereof:

First, it contends that the provisions of the POEA Rules and Regulations on transfer of accreditation is inapplicable because of the express provision of Section 10 of Republic Act No. 8042, the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995, that the liability of the principal and the recruitment agency is joint and several and continues during the entire duration of the employment contract and shall not be affected by any substitution, amendment or modification made locally or in a foreign country of the said contract.

Second, it alleges that the CA misapplied ABD Overseas Manpower Corporation v. National Labor Relations Commission to the effect that Section 6, Rule I, Book III of the POEA Rules should not be used as a shield against liability by a recruitment agency.

Third, it argues that the conclusions of the Labor Arbiter and NLRC, as affirmed by the CA, were not supported by substantial evidence. It claims that the Solicitor General, in his Comment before the CA, even noted that the defenses presented by the petitioner were not touched in the decisions of the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC and suggested that there is a need to remand the case back to the Labor Arbiter for further proceedings on the factual issue of whether respondent is entitled to her monetary claims.

Fourth, it submits that the CA misapplied the rule on caveat emptor; that the rule is inapplicable to labor employment contracts which are imbued with public interest and subservient to the police power of the State.

Fifth, it maintains that the CA disregarded the doctrine of stare decisis in the light of the Court’s ruling on January 14, 1998 in G.R. No. 130953 entitled Lilibeth Lazaga v. National Labor Relations Commission where the Court sustained the NLRC’s dismissal for lack of merit of an identical complaint for unpaid monetary claims of respondent’s co-worker in Philips.

In her Comment, respondent alleges that the instant petition merits outright dismissal for being filed out of time since petitioner admitted that its counsel on record, Atty. Ricardo C. Orias, Jr., received copy of the CA Resolution dated January 7, 2000 on January 25, 2000 and the petition was filed only on May 5, 2000 or 101 days late. Respondent submits that the argument that the filing of the petition was delayed because the notice of withdrawal of Atty. Orias, Jr. was not filed on time with the CA by the petitioner as it is not adept to legal intricacies is but a tactical ploy to delay the case and avoid payment of its monetary liability. At any rate, respondent insists that the arguments raised in the petition have already been raised and squarely resolved by the NLRC and the CA.

In its Reply, petitioner points out that: it received a copy of the CA Resolution dated January 7, 2000 only on March 23, 2000; within fifteen days thereafter it filed before this Court a motion for a thirty-day extension of time or up to May 7, 2000 to file a petition for review on certiorari which was granted by the Court; the petition was filed on May 6, 2000, within the extended period; the failure of Atty. Orias, Jr., who had already withdrawn from the case, to duly inform it that the motion for reconsideration was denied by the CA upon receipt of the CA Resolution dated January 7, 2000 was not its fault and should not be taken against it. It submits that it should be deemed to have notice of the denial of the motion for reconsideration only as of the date of its actual receipt, i.e., March 23, 2000. It insists that it should not be made to bear the adverse consequences of Atty. Orias, Jr.’s negligence.

The Court finds for the petitioner.

To begin with, the Court is fully aware that procedural rules are not to be belittled or simply disregarded for these prescribed procedures insure an orderly and speedy administration of justice. However, it is equally true that litigation is not merely a game of technicalities. The law and jurisprudence grant to courts the prerogative to relax compliance with procedural rules of even the most mandatory character, mindful of the duty to reconcile both the need to put an end to litigation speedily and the parties’ right to an opportunity to be heard.

The Court has often stressed that rules of procedure are merely tools designed to facilitate the attainment of justice. They were conceived and promulgated to effectively aid the court in the dispensation of justice. Courts are not slaves to or robots of technical rules, shorn of judicial discretion. In rendering justice, courts have always been, as they ought to be, conscientiously guided by the norm that on the balance, technicalities take a backseat against substantive rights, and not the other way around. Thus, if the application of the Rules would tend to frustrate rather than promote justice, it is always within our power to suspend the rules or except a particular case from its operation.

In numerous cases, the Court has allowed liberal construction of the Rules of Court with respect to the rules on the manner and periods for perfecting appeals, when to do so would serve the demands of substantial justice and in the exercise of equity jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. Indeed, laws and rules should be interpreted and applied not in a vacuum or in isolated abstraction but in light of surrounding circumstances and attendant facts in order to afford justice to all. Thus, where a decision may be made to rest on informed judgment rather than rigid rules, the equities of the case must be accorded their due weight because labor determinations should not only be secundum rationem but also secundum caritatem.

In this particular case, the suspension of the Rules is warranted since the procedural infirmity was not entirely attributable to the fault or negligence of petitioner. Petitioner and its counsel, Atty. Orias, Jr., agreed to terminate the services of the latter on January 25, 2000. Atty. Orias, Jr. received the CA Resolution on January 28, 2000. The “Withdrawal of Appearance” which Atty. Orias, Jr. gave to petitioner was sent by the latter thru registered mail only on March 24, 2000 and received by the CA on March 27, 2000.

Considering that only three days have elapsed since the termination of his services, Atty. Orias, Jr. should have promptly relayed to petitioner that he received the Resolution dated January 7, 2000 denying petitioner’s motion for reconsideration. Had he done so, he would have known that his Withdrawal of Appearance has not been sent yet by petitioner. It is the duty of a lawyer to pay heed to the urgency and importance of registered letter sent by the court. Before the date of receipt on March 27, 2000 by the CA of the Withdrawal of Appearance, Atty. Orias, Jr. remained as petitioner’s counsel of record.

Ordinarily, until his dismissal or withdrawal is made of record in court, any judicial notice sent to a counsel of record is binding upon his client even though as between them the professional relationship may have been terminated. However, under the peculiar circumstances of this case, Atty. Orias, Jr. was negligent in not adequately protecting petitioner’s interest, which necessarily calls for a liberal construction of the Rules. Verily, the negligence of Atty. Orias, Jr. cannot be deemed as negligence of petitioner itself in the present case. A notice to a lawyer who appears to have been unconscionably irresponsible cannot be considered as notice to his client. Thus, petitioner is deemed to have filed its petition for review on certiorari within the reglementary period as alleged in its Reply.

The general rule is that findings of fact of the NLRC, as affirmed by the CA, are conclusive upon the Supreme Court when supported by substantial evidence that is manifest in the decision and on the records. However, this Court has recognized several exceptions to this rule, to wit: (1) when the findings are grounded entirely on speculation, surmises, or conjectures; (2) when the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd, or impossible; (3) when there is grave abuse of discretion; (4) when the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts; (5) when the findings of facts are conflicting; (6) when in making its findings, the Court of Appeals went beyond the issues of the case, or its findings are contrary to the admissions of both the appellant and the appellee; (7) when the findings are contrary to the trial court; (8) when the findings are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are based; (9) when the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioner’s main and reply briefs are not disputed by the respondent; (10) when the findings of fact are premised on the supposed absence of evidence and contradicted by the evidence on record; and (11) when the Court of Appeals manifestly overlooked certain relevant facts not disputed by the parties, which, if properly considered, would justify a different conclusion. In the present case, the Court is constrained to review the NLRC’s findings of fact, which the CA chose not to pass upon, as there is ample evidence on record to show that certain facts were overlooked which would clearly affect the disposition of the case.

Foremost to consider and point out is that there is no factual basis for the monetary award in respondent’s favor. Significantly, the Labor Arbiter merely accepted per se private respondent’s computation on her monetary claims in view of JSCI’s failure to refute her allegations. He did not assess and weigh or even touch upon herein petitioner’s arguments and evidence against respondent’s claims. Clearly, the Labor Arbiter should not have precipitately granted private respondent’s claims because petitioner had adduced evidence to refute her allegations. Since the Labor Arbiter’s decision did not touch upon or rule on petitioner’s arguments and evidence against respondent’s claims, the NLRC and the CA had no basis for affirming his findings.

Petitioner submits that the NLRC already resolved the same issues in this case in its Decision dated June 25, 1997 in NLRC OCW CA 012269-97, entitled, “Lilibeth Lazaga v. Grand Placement & General Services Corp., et al.” and should not be relitigated under the principle of stare decisis.

Stare decisis et non quieta movere
. Stand by the decision and disturb not what is settled. Stare decisis simply means that for the sake of certainty, a conclusion reached in one case should be applied to those that follow if the facts are substantially the same, even though the parties may be different. It proceeds from the first principle of justice that, absent any powerful countervailing considerations, like cases ought to be decided alike. Thus, where the same questions relating to the same event have been put forward by parties similarly situated as in a previous case litigated and decided by a competent court, the rule of stare decisis is a bar to any attempt to relitigate the same issue.

In the Lazaga case, Lazaga was contracted to work as factory worker for Philips in Chupei City, Taiwan for one year, from July 26, 1994 to July 26, 1995 with a stipulated salary of NT$13,350.00. On April 27, 1995, she was transferred to the Philips factory in Chungli City. Upon the expiration of her contract, she extended the same until she was voluntarily repatriated on February 15, 1996. Thereafter, she filed her complaint for non-payment of salary differential, night shift differential, full attendance bonus and payment of excessive placement fee against petitioner, Philips and Labor International Corp., before the NLRC, National Capital Region, Quezon City.

In her complaint, Lazaga alleged that: she is entitled to salary differential as the salary of NT$13,350.00 in the OFW Info Sheet refers to the basic salary, exclusive of other benefits such as shift allowance, factory incentives, full attendance bonus, monthly dormitory bonus and others; she is entitled to night shift allowance of NT$215.00 and full attendance bonus of NT$900.00 per month, benefits she enjoyed in Chupei City; she paid an excessive placement fee of P30,000.00.

On December 9, 1996, Labor Arbiter Ariel Cadiente Santos, dismissed Lazaga’s complaint for lack of merit. Said the Labor Arbiter in that case:

Complainant therefore cannot capitalize on the entry on the OCW Info Sheet indicating NT$13,350.00 as the basic salary. This is in light of the clear terms of the Employment Contract she duly executed with respondents. x x x Moreover, complainant herself admits that “in addition to NT$13,350.00, she also enjoyed other emoluments in the form of bonuses and differential (p; 3, Amended Complaint). Hence, the claim for salary differential is patently without basis.

The claim for night shift differential is resolved in respondents” favor. x x x The records of this case disclose that the giving of night differential to the workers at respondents Philips was the subject of a meeting/negotiation on December 21, 1996 and was agreed upon to take effect three (3) months thereafter, i.e., on April 1996. Complainant however, by her own volition, had already caused herself to be repatriated before the effectivity of the giving of night shift differential. She therefore cannot claim entitlement thereto. x x x In the absence of proof that the benefit was agreed upon to have a retroactive effect, complainant’s claim for night differential cannot be granted.

The claim for full attendance bonus is likewise denied for lack of basis. The records indicate that complainant was duly paid the same, as shown by the Employee Payment/Deduct Detail Analysis Report (Annex “1”, Answer to Amended Complaint). Complainant’s allegation cannot prevail over the documentary evidence on record which establish the fact of payment of full attendance bonus. x x x

x x x

x x x [C]omplainant’s claim for refund of alleged placement fee cannot be sustained against respondent Grand. There is in fact no proof on record that she ever paid respondent Grand the alleged excessive placement fee. xxx

On appeal, the NLRC in its Decision dated June 25, 1997, sustained the Labor Arbiter’s findings and conclusions. When the NLRC Decision dated June 25, 1997 was elevated to this Court via a petition for certiorari, the First Division, in a minute resolution dated January 14, 1998 dismissed the petition for failure to show that the NLRC committed grave abuse of discretion in rendering the questioned judgment. The resolution became final and executory on February 16, 1998.

The Lazaga case is not stare decisis to the present case since the factual circumstances surrounding each case is different. The contracts of employment of Lazaga and respondent spanned different periods. Lazaga’s contract was from July 26, 1994 to July 26, 1995 and she opted to extend her employment until her repatriation on February 15, 1996, while herein respondent Paragas was employed from December 14, 1994 to December 13, 1995. Furthermore, the contract stipulations in their respective contracts have not been shown to be the same. Lazaga’s contract of employment is not part of the evidence on record for a detailed comparison with respondent’s contract. Besides, evidence to establish their respective claims for salary differential, night shift differential, full attendance bonus and excessive placement fee are different.

Verily, the resolution of the interpretation of the respondent’s contract and her entitlement to salary differential, night shift differential, full attendance bonus and excessive placement fee requires conscientious evaluation and assessment of the evidence adduced by the parties, which is best undertaken by the Labor Arbiter. This Court is not the proper venue to consider factual issues nor is it its function to analyze or weigh the probative value of the evidence presented. Needless to stress, the Supreme Court is not a trier of facts. Ordinarily, the case should be remanded to the Labor Arbiter for proper evaluation of the evidence adduced by the parties. However, considering that the records of the NLRC are before the Court, the Court deems it more appropriate and practical to resolve the present controversy in order to avoid further delay.

Anent the interpretation of the contract of employment regarding the amount of NT$13,350.00, the Court finds that the OCW Info Sheet of respondent indicating NT$13,350.00 as “basic salary” cannot be the basis for her claim of salary differential since Article IV of her employment contract specifically provides that the wage for a full month of working shall be NT$13,350.00 only with free food and accommodation. Moreover, the official interpretation of the Philippine Labor Representative to Taiwan, Guerrero N. Cirilo, that the stipulated salary is the “totality of the amount given to an employee as his compensation for work done on a monthly basis” should stand, in the absence of evidence that said interpretation is patently erroneous.

As to the issue on night shift differential, evidence for the petitioner has shown that the employees’ agreement with Philips to grant night shift allowance became effective only after February 1996. In the absence of express provision in the agreement, the grant of night shift allowance cannot be interpreted to apply retroactively. In this case, since the grant of night shift allowance became effective three months after respondent’s repatriation to the Philippines on December 23, 1995, she is clearly not entitled to night shift differential.

With regard to the question of respondent’s entitlement to salary differential, annual bonus and full attendance bonus, a thorough review of the evidence adduced by the petitioner, comprising of the Employee Payment/Deduct Detail Analysis Report and bank remittance sheets show that respondent has been duly paid her salary, annual bonus and full attendance bonus. The documentary evidence confirms that private respondent’s salary and other benefits have been religiously remitted to her bank account. Against petitioner’s documentary evidence, respondent offered none of her own to fully substantiate her allegations. Necessarily therefore, her case must fail.

As to respondent’s claim for excessive placement fee, not only did respondent fail to substantiate her claim that she paid the amount of P52,000.00, but JSCI Official Receipt No. 5890 dated October 28, 1994 is ample proof that respondent only paid the amount of P18,350.00. Consequently, the Labor Arbiter’s decision to refund the excess placement fee is barren of factual basis. On this score, the NLRC, as affirmed by the CA, aptly deleted the refund of excess placement fee.

Having ruled that the respondent is not entitled to her monetary claims in the first place, the Court sees no more need to address the other arguments of petitioner.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. The assailed Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals dated September 14, 1999 and January 7, 2000, respectively, in CA-G.R. SP No. 51965, are REVERSED and SET ASIDE insofar as it affirms the NLRC’s award in favor of respondent Mary Ann Paragas for salary differential, night shift differential, annual bonus and full attendance bonus. The complaint for unpaid monetary benefits is DISMISSED.

Atty. Ricardo C. Orias, Jr. is admonished to be more conscientious of his duties as counsel for a party.
SO ORDERED.

SOURCE: [ G.R. NO. 142358, January 31, 2006 ]GRAND PLACEMENT AND GENERAL SERVICES CORPORATION, PETITIONER, VS. COURT OF APPEALS, NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, AND MARY ANN PARAGAS, RESPONDENTS. Tags: Alcantara Alcoy moral damages Alegria actual damages Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Separation pay Resign Resignation Back wages Backwages Length of service pay benefit employee employer relationship Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan compensatory damages Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan attorney’s fees Tudela exemplary damages Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker nominal damages Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy temperate damages Luz liquidated damages Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration birth certificate relocation survey surveying judicial titling administrative titling patent title denr cenro foreshore lease ecc environmental compliance certificate design build architect cebu engineer interior design designer residential commercial cebu property warehouse for rent for lease marc Christian yncierto ruz jan Edmond yncierto ruz Kristin Villanueva ruz Edmond mabalot ruz marriage certificate timber land forest land watershed agricultural lot land use conversion hearing trial illegal drugs trial lawyer business corporate lawyer labor lawyer immigration law bureau of immigration cebu 9g visa search warrant warrant of arrest motion to quash information complaint police officers buy bust physical suffering shocked horrified mental anguish fright serious anxiety besmirched reputation sleepless nights wounded feelings moral shock social humiliation similar injuries

The sole issue is whether the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the resolution of the NLRC, which upheld the decision of the Labor Arbiter that petitioners illegally dismissed private respondents who should therefore receive separation pay, backwages, attorney’s fees and salary differential.

The Ruling of the Court


The petition is without merit.

Factual Findings of the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC


We uphold the ruling of the Court of Appeals sustaining the findings of the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC that petitioners illegally dismissed private respondents. The Court of Appeals held that the evidence on record supported such findings.

Factual findings of labor officials, who possess the expertise in matters within their jurisdiction, have conclusive effect on this Court provided substantial evidence support such factual findings. More so in this case, where the findings of the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC coincide, and the Court of Appeals sustained such findings.

As found by the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC, petitioners failed to prove their assertion that Alcovendas voluntarily resigned. Petitioners assert that Alcovendas stole his letter of resignation. However, the Prosecutor dismissed for insufficiency of evidence the charge for qualified theft against Alcovendas for allegedly stealing company documents, including his own letter of resignation. In the labor case, petitioners also failed to present substantial evidence to establish the charge of qualified theft against Alcovendas.

Petitioners were likewise unable to support their claim that Labrador was involved in faking the licenses of security guards who were not qualified. The Labor Arbiter held:

Respondents herein alleged that Labrador was validly terminated on June 5, 1993 for dishonesty involving the faking of guards’ licenses. Again, this alleged offense was never established by evidence. Invisible on record are the supposed documents issued to Labrador such as the notice of offense, notice requiring him to explain and the sworn statement of witnesses attesting to the charge. Even the very letter of termination dated June 14, 1993 served to Labrado[r] terminating the latter’s services does not contain the alleged cause for his termination. We therefore rule that the termination of complainant Labrador from employment was contrary to law.[11]

Petitioners also failed to substantiate their claim that Tacanloy engaged in black propaganda to discredit petitioners’ reputation. The Labor Arbiter held that petitioners failed to establish fraud and breach of trust on the part of Tacanloy which would justify termination of his employment.

We find no reason to deviate from the findings of the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC. Petitioners failed to substantiate their allegations and accusations against private respondents. Although proof beyond reasonable doubt is not required, substantial evidence is necessary and the burden lies on the employer to establish that there was no illegal dismissal. This is in accord with Article 277 of the Labor Code, which explicitly states that the employer has the burden of proving that the termination of the employee is for a valid or authorized cause. The petitioners failed to discharge this burden, which makes a finding for illegal dismissal inevitable.

Loss of Trust and Confidence


Article 282(c) of the Labor Code provides that an employer may terminate an employee for fraud or willful breach by the employee of the trust reposed in him by his employer or duly authorized representative. An employer cannot be compelled to continue the employment of an employee who is guilty of acts inimical to the interest of the employer and which justifies loss of confidence in the employee. However, the right of an employer to terminate an employee based on loss of confidence must not be exercised arbitrarily and without just cause.

In Northwest Tourism Corp. v. Court of Appeals, Former Special Third Division, we held:

Loss of trust and confidence as a ground for dismissal does not entail proof beyond reasonable doubt of the employee’s misconduct. However, the evidence must be substantial and must establish clearly and convincingly the facts on which the loss of confidence in the employee rests. To be a valid reason for dismissal, loss of confidence must be genuine. Uncorroborated assertions and accusations by the employer will not suffice, otherwise it will jeopardize the constitutional guaranty of security of tenure of the employee.

In this case, petitioners failed to prove the acts and misconduct imputed upon private respondents which would justify their dismissal on the ground of loss of confidence.

Salary Differential, Attorney’s Fees, Separation Pay, and Backwages


We affirm the award of salary differential. As found by the Labor Arbiter, PMVSIA paid private respondents wages which were below the minimum rate for security guards as prescribed and adopted by the Philippine Association of Detective [and Protective] Agency Operators, Inc. (PADPAO). Petitioners failed to refute the Labor Arbiter’s finding of underpayment of wages.

We also sustain the award of attorney’s fees. We have held that “[i]n actions for recovery of wages or where an employee was forced to litigate and incur expenses to protect his rights and interest, he is entitled to an award of attorney’s fees.”

We, however, modify the amount of separation pay. The payment of separation pay may be granted when reinstatement is no longer feasible. Separation pay is equivalent to one (1) month pay for every year of service up to the finality of this Decision. Thus, the computation for the separation pay should be adjusted accordingly.

Finally, we rule that private respondents are entitled to backwages. Article 279 of the Labor Code reads:

ART. 279. Security of Tenure. – In cases of regular employment, the employer shall not terminate the services of an employee except for a just cause or when authorized by this Title. An employee who is unjustly dismissed from work shall be entitled to reinstatement without loss of seniority rights and other privileges and to his full backwages, inclusive of allowances, and to his other benefits or their monetary equivalent computed from the time his compensation was withheld from him up to the time of his actual reinstatement.

In accordance with this provision, illegally dismissed private respondents are entitled to full backwages, inclusive of allowances and other benefits. Where reinstatement is no longer possible, as in this case, the backwages shall be computed from the time of the employee’s illegal termination up to the finality of the decision.

WHEREFORE, we AFFIRM with MODIFICATION the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 31 March 1999 and its Resolution dated 23 June 1999. We SUSTAIN the award of salary differential and attorney’s fees. We REMAND this case to the Labor Arbiter for the computation, within thirty days from receipt of this Decision, of separation pay and backwages, inclusive of allowances and other benefits due to Teodulo C. Alcovendas, Cesar W. Labrador and Jordan T. Tacanloy, from the time of their illegal dismissal until the finality of this Decision.

SO ORDERED.

SOURCE: [ G.R. NO. 139159, January 31, 2006 ]PHILIPPINE MILITARY VETERANS SECURITY AND INVESTIGATION AGENCY AND/OR RAMON MACOROL, PETITIONERS, VS. COURT OF APPEALS, NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, TEODULO C. ALCOVENDAS, CESAR W. LABRADOR, AND JORDAN T. TACANLOY, RESPONDENTS. Tags: Alcantara Alcoy moral damages Alegria actual damages Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Separation pay Resign Resignation Back wages Backwages Length of service pay benefit employee employer relationship Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan compensatory damages Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan attorney’s fees Tudela exemplary damages Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker nominal damages Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy temperate damages Luz liquidated damages Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration birth certificate relocation survey surveying judicial titling administrative titling patent title denr cenro foreshore lease ecc environmental compliance certificate design build architect cebu engineer interior design designer residential commercial cebu property warehouse for rent for lease marc Christian yncierto ruz jan Edmond yncierto ruz Kristin Villanueva ruz Edmond mabalot ruz marriage certificate timber land forest land watershed agricultural lot land use conversion hearing trial illegal drugs trial lawyer business corporate lawyer labor lawyer immigration law bureau of immigration cebu 9g visa search warrant warrant of arrest motion to quash information complaint police officers buy bust physical suffering shocked horrified mental anguish fright serious anxiety besmirched reputation sleepless nights wounded feelings moral shock social humiliation similar injuries

THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A MOST GRIEVOUS ERROR WHEN IT DID NOT EXPRESSLY RULE ON THE ISSUE OF THE RIGHT OF PETITIONERS TO BACKWAGES AND IN EFFECT AFFIRMED THE TERRIBLY WRONG RULING OF THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION THAT PETITIONERS HAVE NO RIGHT TO BACKWAGES

Petitioners are no longer pleading for exoneration from the administrative charges filed against them. Instead, petitioners are merely asking for the payment of back wages computed from the time they could not teach pursuant to Secretary Cariño’s dismissal orders minus the six months suspension until their actual reinstatement.[8]

Petitioners have no right to back wages because they were neither exonerated nor unjustifiably suspended.  Petitioners admitted participating in the teachers’ strike which disrupted the education of public school students.  For this offense, the CSC reduced Secretary Cariño’s dismissal orders to six months suspension without pay.  The Court has already put to rest the issue of the award of back wages to public school teachers whom the CSC reinstated in the service after commuting Secretary Cariño’s dismissal orders to six months suspension without pay.[9] In Alipat v. Court of Appeals,[10] the Court denied the teachers’ claim for back wages stating thus:

This Court has also resolved the issue of whether back wages may be awarded to the teachers who were ordered reinstated to the service after the dismissal orders of Secretary Cariño were commuted by the Civil Service Commission to six (6) months’ suspension.  The issue was resolved in the negative in Bangalisan vs. Court of Appeals on the ground that the teachers were neither exonerated nor unjustifiably suspended.  The Bangalisan case also ruled that the immediate implementation of the dismissal orders, being clearly sanctioned by law, was not unjustified.  The Court held that as regards the payment of back salaries during the period of suspension of a member of the civil service who is subsequently ordered reinstated, the payment of back wages may be decreed if “he is found innocent of the charges which caused the suspension and when the suspension is unjustified.”

Citing the Bangalisan ruling, this Court in Jacinto vs. Court of Appeals held that when the teachers have given cause for their suspension – i.e., the unjustified abandonment of classes to the prejudice of their students – they were not fully innocent of the charges against them although they were eventually found guilty only of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and not grave misconduct or other offense warranting their dismissal from the service; “being found liable for a lesser offense is not equivalent to exoneration.”[11]

The facts in this case are substantially the same as those in Bangalisan v. Court of Appeals,[12]De la Cruz v. Court of Appeals,[13]Alipat v. Court of Appeals[14] and Secretary of Education, Culture and Sports v. Court of Appeals.[15] In these cases, the Court categorically declared that the payment of back wages during the period of suspension of a civil servant who is subsequently reinstated is proper if he is found innocent of the charges and the suspension is unjustified.  These two circumstances are absent in the present case.  When a court has laid down a principle of law as applicable to a certain state of facts, it will adhere to that principle and apply it to all future cases where the facts are substantially the same.[16]

WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition.  We AFFIRM the Decision dated 31 July 1996 and Resolution dated 29 February 2000 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP Nos. 37794-99 and SP Nos. 37800-05.  Costs against petitioners.

SO ORDERED.

SOURCE: [ G.R. NOS. 142332-43, January 31, 2005 ]YOLANDA BRUGADA, ANGELINA CORPUZ, EVELYN ESCANO, SHIRLEY GARMA, DEDAICA JUSAY, PARSIMA LERIA, SONIA C. MAHINAY, ADELA SOLO, ELSIE SOMERA, VIRGINIA TALICURAN, JOSE S. VALLO, AND TEOFILA VILLANUEVA, PETITIONERS, VS. THE SECRETARY OF EDUCATION, CULTURE AND SPORTS, RESPONDENT. Tags: Alcantara Alcoy moral damages Alegria actual damages Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Separation pay Resign Resignation Back wages Backwages Length of service pay benefit employee employer relationship Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan compensatory damages Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan attorney’s fees Tudela exemplary damages Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker nominal damages Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy temperate damages Luz liquidated damages Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration birth certificate relocation survey surveying judicial titling administrative titling patent title denr cenro foreshore lease ecc environmental compliance certificate design build architect cebu engineer interior design designer residential commercial cebu property warehouse for rent for lease marc Christian yncierto ruz jan Edmond yncierto ruz Kristin Villanueva ruz Edmond mabalot ruz marriage certificate timber land forest land watershed agricultural lot land use conversion hearing trial illegal drugs trial lawyer business corporate lawyer labor lawyer immigration law bureau of immigration cebu 9g visa search warrant warrant of arrest motion to quash information complaint police officers buy bust physical suffering shocked horrified mental anguish fright serious anxiety besmirched reputation sleepless nights wounded feelings moral shock social humiliation similar injuries

When is the payment of damages as well as attorney’s fees proper?

In a Supreme Court case, the following damages were awarded:

“xxx

The RTC awarded moral damages, exemplary damages, attorney’s fees, plus P2,000.00 for every appearance, and costs of litigation.

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Moral damages are meant to compensate the claimant for any physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social humiliation, and similar injuries unjustly caused. Petitioner Rosalina has adequately established the factual basis for the award of moral damages when she testified that she felt shocked and horrified upon knowing of the foreclosure sale.

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However, we find the RTC’s award of P2,000,000.00 excessive and unconscionable, and reduce the salve to P100,000.00.
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Exemplary damages are imposed by way of example for the public good, in addition to moral, temperate, liquidated or compensatory damages. We reduce the RTC’s award of P500,000.00 to P30,000.00.
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Attorneys fees are allowed when exemplary damages are awarded and when the party to a suit is compelled to incur expenses to protect his interest. We find the RTC’s award of attorney’s fees in the amount of P100,000.00 proper.

xxx”

From the case of SPOUSES GILDARDO LOQUELLANO and ROSALINA JULIET B. LOQUELLANO, petitioners, xxx

Alcantara Alcoy moral damages Alegria actual damages Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Separation pay Resign Resignation Back wages Backwages Length of service pay benefit employee employer relationship Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan compensatory damages Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan attorney’s fees Tudela exemplary damages Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker nominal damages Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy temperate damages Luz liquidated damages Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration birth certificate relocation survey surveying judicial titling administrative titling patent title denr cenro foreshore lease ecc environmental compliance certificate design build architect cebu engineer interior design designer residential commercial cebu property warehouse for rent for lease marc Christian yncierto ruz jan Edmond yncierto ruz Kristin Villanueva ruz Edmond mabalot ruz marriage certificate timber land forest land watershed agricultural lot land use conversion hearing trial illegal drugs trial lawyer business corporate lawyer labor lawyer immigration law bureau of immigration cebu 9g visa search warrant warrant of arrest motion to quash information complaint police officers buy bust physical suffering shocked horrified mental anguish fright serious anxiety besmirched reputation sleepless nights wounded feelings moral shock social humiliation similar injuries

As a general rule, an employee who voluntarily resigns from employment is not entitled to separation pay

The Facts

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Petitioner Del Rio is an employee of respondent DPO Philippines, Inc. (DPO) which is a Belgian multi-national food distribution company. He was tasked to set up the operations in Cebu to cover Visayas and Mindanao. Respondent DPO succeeded with its business operations in Cebu and thereafter, petitioner was able to establish respondent’s office in Davao.

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On September 7, 2009, petitioner submitted his notice of resignation which would take effect on October 7, 2009. At the time of his resignation, he was holding the position of Assistant Country Manager. In a letter dated September 14, 2009, respondent DPO accepted petitioner’s resignation. On October 11, 2009, respondent DPO published in a newspaper that petitioner has resigned from DPO Philippines, Inc. effective October 7, 2009.

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Petitioner realized that after October 7, 2009, he was not yet paid of his salary for the period of September 16, 2009 to October 7, 2009. Petitioner sought from respondent DPO payments of his unpaid salaries, accrued leave credits and separation pay, but all of these were denied.

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Aggrieved, petitioner, on October 9, 2009, filed a complaint with the Regional Arbitration Branch of the NLRC in Cebu City for recovery of his monetary claims.

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Respondents, for their part, averred that after petitioner resigned, they came to know that in the last part of his employment, he was engaged in activities in direct competition with the business of respondent DPO, which is a violation of the non-competition clause of his contract of employment. On or about August 28, 2009, which was 10 days prior to the date of his resignation letter, petitioner was able to secure from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) the registration of a corporation named Judphilan Foods which has the same primary purpose as that of respondent DPO.
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Respondent DPO was unhappy and disappointed with petitioner’s act of disloyalty and betrayal but it still offered petitioner the amount of P110,692.75 inclusive of his salary from September 16-30, 2009 and October 1-6, 2009; 13th month pay; tax refund; and commissions for August and September 2009. Petitioner refused what was offered to him insisting that aside from what respondent DPO offered, he is also entitled to separation pay and cash conversion of his leave credits.
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Respondent DPO asserted that petitioner is not entitled to conversion of unused leave credits from 2006 to 2008 because the same had been forfeited in accordance with the company policy. While his unused leave credits for 2009 was applied as terminal leave after he tendered his resignation. Respondent DPO also asserted that petitioner is not entitled to separation pay because he was the one who voluntarily resigned.

xxx

In their Reply to petitioner’s Position Paper, respondents explained that the separation pay was given to Legaspi and Martinez in exchange for their resignation in order to spare the company of the pain of having to terminate them. Respondent DPO explained that it knows of the disloyalty of Martinez and Legaspi and their connivance with petitioner, but rather than terminating them, respondent asked them to tender their resignation with a promise of a separation pay.

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In their Verified Memorandum of Appeal, respondents explained that the separation pay given to Legaspi and Martinez was not strictly separation pay, but in consideration of their resignation, more of a gift, an act of generosity because Legaspi and Martinez’s resignation was more of a favor to the company as it was spared of going through litigation if it would terminate the employees. In other words, Legaspi and Martinez were given the said pay because they were forced to resign.

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In their Motion for Reconsideration, respondents maintained that the payments to Legaspi and Martinez were made after their resignations were tendered and accepted, or two months thereafter. Hence, there can be no company policy or practice to speak of. In the said motion, respondents likewise averred that even assuming that by doing so, it became a company practice, it was created after the resignation of petitioner. Verily, petitioner cannot avail of it, because at the time it became a practice, he was already resigned.

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Even if these arguments were not considered by the NLRC and the Labor Arbiter in their Decisions, this does not preclude the CA from considering them, especially if they were raised and became part of the records.
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It is a well-settled rule that the NLRC’s factual findings, if supported by substantial evidence, are entitled to great respect and even finality, unless it was shown that it simply and arbitrarily disregarded evidence before it or had misapprehended evidence to such an extent as to compel a contrary conclusion if such evidence had been properly appreciated. 21 The CA, therefore, may review the factual findings of the NLRC and reverse its ruling if it finds that the NLRC disregarded and misappreciated the evidence extant on records.

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In the same manner, factual findings of the CA are generally not subject to this Court’s review under Rule 45. However, the general rule on the conclusiveness of the factual findings of the CA is also subject to well-recognized exceptions such as, where the CA’s findings of facts contradict those of the lower court, or the administrative bodies, as in this case. 22 Since their findings are at variance, we are compelled to review factual questions and make a further calibration of the evidence at hand.
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There is no dispute that petitioner resigned from his employment. This fact is established by the letter of resignation dated September 7, 2009 sent by petitioner to respondents and was even admitted by the latter.
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Suffice it to say, an employee who voluntarily resigns from employment is not entitled to separation pay, except when it is stipulated in the employment contract or the CBA, or it is sanctioned by established employer practice or policy. The cited exceptions do not obtain in this case. As correctly found by the CA, there was no employment contract, much less a CBA, which contained the stipulation that would grant separation pay to resigning employees. Neither was there a company practice or policy that was proven to exist in the instant case.

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In his attempt to prove that there was a company practice of giving separation pay to resigning employees, petitioner presented the payslips of Martinez and Legaspi showing that they received separation pay after they resigned. We are not convinced.
To be considered a company practice, the giving of the benefits should have been done over a long period of time, and must be shown to have been consistent and deliberate. As records would show, the giving of the monetary benefit by respondents in favor of Legaspi and Martinez is merely an isolated instance. From the beginning of respondents’ business and up until petitioner’s resignation took effect on October 7, 2009, there was no showing that payments of such benefit had been made by respondents to their employees who voluntarily resigned. The first and only instance when such a benefit was given to resigned employees was on or after November 15, 2009 — not because it was a company practice but only to pave the way for Legaspi and Martinez’s graceful exit, so to speak.

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As explained by respondents, the said benefit was not intended as a separation pay but more of a promise or an assurance to Legaspi and Martinez that they would be paid a benefit if they tender their resignation. Given respondents’ knowledge of Legaspi and Martinez’s acts of disloyalty and betrayal of trust, respondents opted to give them an alternative way of exit, in lieu of termination. Respondents’ decision to give Legaspi and Martinez a graceful exit is perfectly within their prerogative. It is settled that there is nothing reprehensible or illegal when the employer grants the employee a chance to resign and save face rather than smear the latter’s employment record.

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Relying on respondents’ assurance, Legaspi and Martinez tendered their resignation and it is incumbent upon respondents to make good of their promise. As held in Alfaro v. Court of Appeals, 27 an employer who agrees to expend such benefit as an incident of the resignation should not be allowed to renege in the performance of such commitment. And true enough, after Legaspi and Martinez resigned, they were paid the promised benefit.
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This was not the case for petitioner. There was no promise given to him. Rather, petitioner resigned on his own volition. Respondents did not make any commitment to petitioner that he would be paid after his voluntary resignation.
Based on the foregoing, it becomes all too apparent that the CA committed no reversible error in issuing the assailed decision and ruling that petitioner voluntarily resigned from his employment. Thus, the granting of separation pay in his favor has no basis in law and jurisprudence, and must be deleted.

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WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is DENIED. Accordingly, the Decision dated November 6, 2013 and the Resolution dated February 7, 2014 of the Court of Appeals-Cebu City in CA-G.R. CEB-SP No. 05921, are hereby AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

Tags Alcantara Alcoy Alegria Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Separation pay Resign Resignation Back wages Backwages Length of service pay benefit employee employer relationship Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan Tudela Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy Luz Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration birth certificate relocation survey surveying judicial titling administrative titling patent title denr cenro foreshore lease ecc environmental compliance certificate design build architect cebu engineer interior design designer residential commercial cebu property warehouse for rent for lease marc Christian yncierto ruz jan Edmond yncierto ruz Kristin Villanueva ruz Edmond mabalot ruz marriage certificate timber land forest land watershed agricultural lot land use conversion hearing trial illegal drugs trial lawyer business corporate lawyer labor lawyer immigration law bureau of immigration cebu 9g visa search warrant warrant of arrest motion to quash information complaint police officers buy bust

REVISED RULES OF THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION; REQUIREMENT OF VERIFIED POSITION PAPER APPLICABLE ONLY IN PROCEEDINGS BEFORE LABOR ARBITERS.

REVISED RULES OF THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION; REQUIREMENT OF VERIFIED POSITION PAPER APPLICABLE ONLY IN PROCEEDINGS BEFORE LABOR ARBITERS. — Petitioner asseverates that the NLRC erroneously anchored its ruling on Section 2, Rule VII of its Revised Rules. A perusal of this provision shows that the requirement of a verified position paper is applicable only in proceedings before the Labor Arbiters.

LACK OF VERIFICATION OF POSITION PAPER A FORMAL RATHER THAN A SUBSTANTIAL DEFECT. — There is a need to rectify another faux pas of the NLRC, namely, that Section 2, Rule VII of its Revised Rules is “not only procedural but also jurisdictional.” Even prior to the questioned decision of the NLRC, We have had an occasion to rule squarely that the lack of verification of the position paper is a formal, rather than a substantial defect. It is not fatal in this case. It could have been easily corrected by requiring an oath. xxx

VERIFIED ANSWER A SUBSTANTIAL COMPLIANCE WITH SECTION 2, RULE VII THEREOF; CASE AT BAR. — The filing of a verified answer by petitioner before the POEA is a matter of record. Granting arguendo that it was still necessary for petitioner to verify its defenses and allegations in the position paper, the verified answer was in substantial compliance with Section 2, Rule VII of the Revised Rules of the NLRC. After all, the averments and defenses raised in its position paper are mere clarifications of averments and defenses in the answer.

PHILIPPINE OVERSEAS EMPLOYMENT ADMINISTRATION RULES AND REGULATIONS; REQUIREMENT OF VERIFICATION APPLIES ONLY TO ANSWER. — Sections 2 and 5, Rule III, Book VI of the POEA Rules and Regulations do not require verification of position papers. The requirement of verification applies only to an answer.

SECTIONS 2 AND 5, RULE III, BOOK VI THEREOF APPLICABLE TO CASE AT BAR. — Petitioner correctly invokes the applicability in this case of Sections 2 and 5, Rule III, Book VI of the POEA Rules and Regulations, which provide: “Section 2. Filing of Answer. Within the period indicated in paragraph 1 of Section 1 hereof, the respondent shall file a verified answer, not a motion to dismiss, incorporating therein all pertinent documents in support of his defense. “Section 5. Judgment Based on Position Paper. Whenever summary judgment is not appropriate, the Hearing Officer shall direct the parties to the case to simultaneously submit their position papers and/or memoranda within fifteen (15) calendar days from notice after which the case shall be deemed submitted for decision.” instead of Section 2, Rule VII of the Revised Rules of the NLRC which provides: “Section 2. Submission of position papers. — During the initial conference/hearing, or immediately thereafter, the Labor Arbiter shall require the parties to simultaneously submit to him their respective verified position papers, which shall cover only the issues raised in the complaint, accompanied by all supporting documents then available to them and the affidavits of their witnesses which shall take the place of their direct testimony. The parties shall thereafter not be allowed to allege, or present evidence to prove, facts not referred to and any cause or causes of action not included in their complaint or position papers, affidavits and other documents. The parties shall furnish each other with copies of the position papers, together with the supporting affidavits and documents submitted by them.” Sections 2 and 5, Rule III, Book VI of the POEA Rules and Regulations are the governing provisions because this case concerns adjudication proceedings before the POEA, which has the “original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide all cases involving employer-employee relation arising out of or by virtue of . . . (a) contract involving Filipino workers for overseas employment . . .” (Section 1, Rule I, Book VI of the POEA Rules and Regulations). As pointed out by petitioner, verification of the position paper is not required therein; only the answer is required to be verified. From cd asia

FIRST DIVISION [G.R. No. 87644. April 20, 1992.] G & P MANPOWER SERVICES, petitioner, vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ORLANDO S. JIMENEZ AND ARMANDO S. JIMENEZ, respondents. Alcantara Alcoy Alegria Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan Tudela Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy Luz Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration birth certificate relocation survey surveying judicial titling administrative titling patent title denr cenro foreshore lease ecc environmental compliance certificate design build architect cebu engineer interior design designer residential commercial cebu property warehouse for rent for lease marc Christian yncierto ruz jan Edmond yncierto ruz Kristin Villanueva ruz Edmond mabalot ruz marriage certificate timber land forest land watershed agricultural lot land use conversion hearing trial illegal drugs trial lawyer business corporate lawyer labor lawyer immigration law bureau of immigration cebu